The New London Maritime Society announces their Sixteen Weekends of Lighthouse Boat Tours & Special Events. This annual celebration of New London’s lighthouse heritage more than doubles the fun this summer with activities taking place both Saturdays and Sundays across sixteen weekends, from July 5 through October 26 (skipping only SailFest weekend July 12 & 13), 2014.
There will be lighthouse boat trips, including seven Project Oceanology 2 1/2-hour excursions to visit New London Ledge Light leaving from New London’s Waterfront Park, and special events every weekend at the Custom House Maritime Museum. A regional celebration of all things lighthouse, this year’s celebration features Shennecossett Yacht Club’s 1st annual SYC Lighthouse Regatta, and three day-trips to Plum Island. Visit the Custom House Maritime Museum website at nlmaritimesociety.org after May 1, 2014, for scheduling details and to-the-minute updates.
New this year, Shennecossett Yacht Club (SYC) of Groton, CT, will sponsor a unique sailing race on Saturday, August 2, the SYC Lighthouse Regatta, an Eastern CT Sailing Association sanctioned circuit race. Weather permitting, the plan is for 6 racing classes to take on a 14-mile race up and down Fishers Island Sound. The course will encompass three lighthouses; New London Ledge Light, North Dumpling, and Latimer’s Reef, with views of several more lighthouses for an exciting navigator’s race. (Any sailboat racer interested in more information can contact Gene Fiese of Shennecossett Yacht Club at firstname.lastname@example.org.) SYC will donate profits from the regatta to the New London Maritime Society Lighthouse Fund. An illustrated booklet about the nine Fishers Island Sound lighthouses will be created for the regatta.
Sculptor Bob Landry’s intricate three-foot model of Race Rock Lighthouse, created this winter as a gift to the Maritime Society, and a Crouse-Hinds rotating beacon from Cape Lookout State Park, Oregon and on loan from the USCG will be special new features of the Custom House Maritime Museum’s Lighthouses off New London permanent exhibition. (New London Maritime Society became the owner of Race Rock lighthouse in 2013 . More of Bob Landry’s lighthouse sculptures can be seen on permanent view at the Fort Trumbull Museum.) Race Rock Light, curated by Pierce Rafferty as the main exhibition last year at the Henry L. Ferguson Museum on Fishers Island, will move to the Custom House Maritime Museum for the Sentinels’ season, July through October, 2014. During the month of August there also will be a special display of selected artists’ renditions of area lighthouses.
New for 2014 are overnight Lighthouse Weekend packages — combined boat tours, B&B accommodations, and dining discounts. Partners in these packages are four New London restaurants and The Big House bed and breakfast.
Favorites from previous years — lighthouse boat tours of New London Harbor –will take place on the hour, from 11 AM through 4 PM, every Saturday and Sunday for 16 weekends (not including July 12 and 13, which is New London’s SailFest celebration). Boat trips to Ledge Light, provided by Project Oceanology, are scheduled to leave from New London’s City Pier every-other-Saturday at 2:30 PM: July 5, 19 , August 2, 16, 30, September 13, 27 Three day-trips to Plum Island take to place Friday July 25, Friday August 15, and Monday September 29, 2014; and a rail-boat excursion to Norwalk’s Sheffield Island Light (date TBD) also are part of planned special events. A full schedule of Lighthouse Weekend events combined with additional downtown New London special events will be posted online May 1 at nlmaritimesociety.org. May 1 also is when reservations will be taken on the new Lighthouse Hotline: 860-447-8700.
Phase I restoration of New London Harbor ‘Pequot’ Light–repainting and re-pointing the exterior masonry tower– is scheduled to take place this spring, from mid-May through June, with additional restoration work on the lighthouse interior taking place across the summer. Sentinels on the Sound and the lighthouse boat trips are New London Maritime Society’s major fund-raising activity of the year. All money raised through Lighthouse Weekend activities goes to the Lighthouse Fund.